MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Playgrounds are a place where kids can explore and have fun. But that is not always the case for kids with disabilities.
Schaper Park in Golden Valley gives all children a chance to enjoy a physical challenge.
It’s a 100-percent accessible playground, along with a ninja warrior-style challenge course.
Schaper is the first of its kind in the state, along with only 22 across the country.
Meadowbrook Elementary students were there Wednesday. It’s hard to beat the sound of the utter joy of children playing, and it’s hard to beat this playground in particular.
The timed-challenge course is full of all kinds of obstacles — from ropes, climbing, agility challengers and swings — and it’s accessible for everyone.
“It’s designed for 2 year olds all the way to 92 year olds,” said Harlan Lehman of Minnesota/Wisconsin Playground.
The turf is wheelchair or walker accessible, and each challenge can be used in different ways, or skipped depending on the racer’s ability.
The course is timed; just press the button and the clock starts. Same with the 40-yard dash.
Lehman calls it the playground of the future. And taking the technology a step even further, the playground has an app that allows you to find your friends, log your timing and track your progress.
Needless to say, it’s a hit with the kiddos.
“I was really excited to go here, but my mom totally got worried,” said a young park-goer. “She’s a teacher, so sometimes she overreacts.”
Turns out, moms and dads are also thrilled.
“What’s so great about this playground is that they will never be bored. They can do it over and over again, they can do it differently, they can do the stunts differently,” said parent Amy Paster. “It builds self-confidence, it makes them feel good, it’s fun and it gets them outside. And honestly, and everything that’s in the world today, this is like the most refreshing thing to have right now.”
And it was all made possible with the collaboration of Minnesota/Wisconsin Playground, Three Rivers Parks District, Paul’s Pals, the city of Golden Valley and other local charities.